Insecticide Withdrawal Leaves Farmers and Growers with Few Alternatives on Pest Control

The announcement by the Chemicals Regulation Directorate that authorisations for products containing chlorpyrifos will be revoked within a matter of weeks will rob Scotland’s farmers of important plant protection products.

Widely-used insecticides like Dursban WG and Equity have been used for decades to control a wide range of pests in arable crops, vegetables, soft fruit and grassland. The products help control pests such as aphids, caterpillars, wheat bulb fly and leatherjackets.

The announcement now means that, from 1 April 2016, it will be illegal to sell, distribute or use existing stocks of products containing chlorpyrifos. That leaves little time for farmers to use or return stock or for stockists to make arrangements for withdrawal.

The sole exception for use of chlorpyrifos is as a protected brassica seedling drench using automated gantry sprayers.

With few suitable alternative products on the market, the Union will be investigating all available options to ensure that essential crop protection can occur.

NFU Scotland President, Allan Bowie said: “Farmers and growers who have been successfully and safely using products containing chlorpyrifos for many, many years will be bewildered at the speed at which these have been removed from their armoury of plant protection products.

“It is only a few short days since the Chemicals Regulation Directorate revoked the authorisations for all commercial products containing chlorpyrifos-ethyl, such as Dursban WG and Equity.

“Despite efforts by NFU Scotland to secure a longer use-up period, it has been confirmed that from 1 April 2016 it will be illegal to sell, distribute or use existing stocks, and that manufacturers and distributors will have until the 30 September 2016 to recover, re-label or dispose of existing stocks.  

“We have discussed with the Agricultural Industries Confederation (AIC) the issue of returning unused stock to merchants, and we understand that open stock will not be able to be returned, and that unopened stock is a matter for individual customers to discuss with their merchant.  That will give those with stocks on farm a headache on disposal.

“NFUS will, as a matter of urgency, be investigating the options to ensure that essential crop protection can continue in the future.

“There is a wider issue here about the availability of plant protection products.  It is imperative that legislators appreciate that the current rate of withdrawal of pesticides from the market is likely to leave farming at significant risk of being unable to meet the challenge of sustaining production in the face of pest and disease pressure.

“As a society, we must better appreciate that the use of such products are very carefully controlled and, when used in accordance with recommendations, pose little or no risk.  Withdrawing them on the basis of their intrinsic hazard is a recipe for major crop failure and food price inflation in the future.”


Contact Bob Carruth on 0131 472 4006

Date Published:

News Article No.: 44/16

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